I had a free day off midweek so decided to head down in the car to the nearest Clyde Coastal resort to me, which happens to be Saltcoats, as a perfect storm was expected to roll in from America all the way across the wild Atlantic then hit the west coast of Ireland and Scotland over two days. In a term borrowed from American forecasters they were calling it a "Weather bomb" in the UK Media. Weather forecasting seems to be changing and has now got "Sexy" "Dynamic" and "Entertaining" presumably so folk will pay more attention to it. They are still haunted to some extent by the Michael Fish unfortunate comment from 1987 where he predicted " There is no hurricane coming across the Atlantic." only to be proved wrong when a larger storm than expected caused considerable disruption to the South of England and brought down a massive amount of trees which blocked roads over a wide chunk of the UK.
Now they seem to always err on the side of overstatement with approaching storms, just it case it is a whopper and we are all caught unprepared with our pants down.Weather forecasting is not an easy job these days.
Saltcoats was once a popular working class coastal resort but like a lot of British seaside holiday towns has suffered badly from cheap flights to sunnier climes and no longer gets large numbers of visitors most of the year and as a consequence can look fairy run down, especially on a bleak winter's day. I've always liked the place though as it has bags of character, and more importantly for me, is a good base for several walks and cycle rides which start from its large seafront car park.These are all described in my new book available on Kindle bookstore here for £1.99 which has over 80 enjoyable walks and cycle rides described in it from Lanark to Girvan along the river and is illustrated with 146 original colour photographs. For anyone that likes walking, cycling or just a visual journey down this famous river then around the Firth of Clyde this may be a worthwhile addition to the Christmas stocking. Blah, blah, blah. Plug over.
During the winter season Britain usually gets high rainfall, raging seas and extensive flooding as the country juts out into the North Atlantic Ocean and four different weather systems come together and fight for dominance over the UK. Scotland is already one of the windiest countries in Europe and these winds and storms seem to be increasing year by year.
I put my boots on, locked the car, and had a stroll round the harbour, seen above. It was fairly breezy with good wave action on show. I,m not a thrill seeker as such and I,m very careful about putting myself into dangerous situations but I had a quick assessment and decided it was safe enough to walk around and up the tower seen in the second photograph. If I experienced any danger I would turn back. One of the benefits of being a mountaineer is that you do get fairly good at risk assessment of natural features once you have done it for a while. Careful observation before you do anything is usually the key to safety.
Seen this music group last year and couldn't believe my eyes as they are so completely different, both visually and musically, to anything else out there. Worth watching. Totally unique. They are not so much a group as performance artists.